Fairytale venue keeps on enchanting visitors

Fantasy Cave is the place where fairytales come to life. Packed with all your favourites from Rumpelstiltskin, Little Bo Peep, Rapunzel, teddy bears' picnic, a train named Danny and even an outer space experience, there is a lot here for the kids to enjoy.

Established in 1989 as Santa's Cave, the High St attraction has helped to bring many of the best fairytales and ideas to life.

"The kids are often really impressed when they first walk in. Sometimes the kids take a long time going through - especially at Christmas or during the holidays," says treasurer Malcolm Peffers.

"We are going really well at the moment. On Monday we had more than 100 kids throughout the place. We expect to keep up the same numbers throughout the rest of the week."

The 150 volunteer cave dwellers, many who have been part of the tourism attraction from day one, all have different roles to help make the attraction work. To add a personal touch to the imaginarium, each character, building and contraption has been handcrafted by the cave dwellers.

Everything is made on-site. Some of them take about six months to create. Many of them are made out of polystyrene, fibreglass and other recycled materials.

Since opening their doors in the late '80s, the venue has attracted over 1700 visitors a year from around the world.

"We often get a lot of people from overseas who compare it with Disney World, but not as commercialised. Most people are often blown away. It's the only thing like this in New Zealand, the nearest thing would be The Castle [Pamela] in Te Rau."

Mr Peffers believes the attraction had helped to bring about $1 million into Dannevirke. When a bus comes to visit the attraction, the town often gets busy.

People go to cafes buy food, or shop in stores around the city centre. That's a lot of tea and coffee, Mr Peffers said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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